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Ubiquiti Enterprise 8 PoE Review: A Solid Plug-and-Play PoE Multi-Gig Switch

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In more ways than one, the Ubiquiti Switch Enterprise 8 PoE — what an odd name! — is a lesser alternative to the Zyxel XS1930-12HP. It has fewer ports, a lower Multi-Gig grade, and a less powerful PoE standard.

In return, it costs half the price. At less than $500, this is a cost-effective Multi-Gig PoE+ switch.

Despite the “Enterprise” notion, the new switch is easy to use. It’s a plug-and-play device that requires no setup, though savvy users can customize it further.

If you have a relatively cool and airy place to mount it, this new switch is an easy recommendation. You might even love it.

Ubiquiti Switch Enterprise 8 PoE is in action
Here’s the Ubiquiti Switch Enterprise 8 PoE in action. Note the handy little touchscreen.

Ubiquiti Switch Enterprise 8 PoE: Not a typical “Enterprise” switch, in a good way

Out of the box, the Ubiquiti Switch Enterprise 8 PoE looks great with a touchscreen and a solid build. The switch is heavy and feels sturdy. And it comes with everything to get it up and running, including mounting accessories and a standard power cable.

You can use any IEC-320-C13 power cord designed for most desktop computers with an internal PSU with it. However, the included one has a groove to work with an integrated locking mechanism that prevents accidental unplugging. It’s a nice touch.

Ubiquiti Switch Enterprise 8 PoE Power Port
Here’s the Ubiquiti Switch Enterprise 8 PoE and its included power cord — note how the latch at the switch’s power port and the groove on the cord itself. The two are designed to prevent accidental unplugging.

The Enterprise 8 PoE can stay on a surface or mount on a wall. It comes with a base that makes mounting and dismounting an easy job — you hang this base on the wall first and then snap the switch on it. Ubiquiti even provides a bubble level in the package — like with the U6 Enterprise access point — to help with the job.

As suggested by its name, the new Enterprise 8 PoE has eight PoE ports — all Base-T 2.5Gbps Multi-Gig. Additionally, it has two SFP+ (10Gbps) ports.

SFP+ vs BASE-T

BASE-T (or BaseT) is the common port type and refers to the wiring method used inside a network cable and the connectors at its ends, which is 8-position 8-contact (8P8C).

This type is known via a misnomer called Registered Jack 45 or RJ45. So we’ll keep calling it RJ45.

On the other hand, the SFP or SFP+ (plus) port type is used mostly for enterprise applications. SFP stands for small form pluggable and is the technical name for what is often referred to as Fiber Channel or Fiber.

Best among Multi-Gigabit Routers: The Asus RT AX89X 10GbpsTP Link Archer AXE300 Ports Multi Gig
BASE-T Multi-Gig vs SFP+: The two are generally available as separate ports, such as in the Asus RT-AX89X‘s case (left) but can also be part of a combo port in some hardware, such as the TP-Link Archer AXE300.

An SFP+ port has speed grades of either 1Gbps or 10Gbps. The older version, SFP, can only do 1Gbps, though it shares the same port type as SFP+. This type of port standard is more strict in compatibility and more reliable in performance.

While physically different, BASE-T and SFP/+ are parts of the Ethernet family, sharing the same networking principles and Ethernet naming convention — Gigabit Ethernet (1Gbps) or 10 Gigabit Ethernet (a.k.a 10GE, 10GbE, or 10 GigE).

Generally, you can get an adapter to connect a BASE-T device to an SFP or SFP+ port. Still, in this case, compatibility can be an issue — a particular adapter might only work (well) with the SFP/+ port of certain hardware vendors.

The BASE-T wiring is more popular thanks to its simple design and flexibility in speed support. Some routers and switches have an RJ45/SFP+ combo which includes two physical ports of each type, but you can use one at a time.

For comparison, the Zyxel XS1930-12HP features two SFP+ ports, but its ten PoE++ ports are all 10Gbps Mulit-Gig. The table below will highlight the differences between the two.

Ubiquiti Switch Enterprise 8 PoE vs Zyxel XS1930-12: Hardware specifications

USW Enterprise 8 PoEZyxel XS1930 12HP switch
Full NameUbiquiti Switch Enterprise 8 PoEZyxel XS1930-12 Multi-Gigabit Smart Managed PoE Switch
ModelUSW-Enterprise-8-PoEXS1930-12
Dimensions
(W x D x H)
9.8 x 7.9 x 1.7 in
(248 x 200 x 44 mm)
12.99 x 9.06 x 1.73 in
(330 x 230 x 44 mm)
Weight5.29 lbs (2.4 kg)6.17 lbs (2.8 kg)
AccessoriesPower cord
Wall mounting accessories
Power cord
Rack mounting kit
Gigabit PortsNoneNone
Multi-Gig Ports8x 2.5Gbps Multi-Gig
2x SFP+
10x 10Gbps Multi-Gig
2x SFP+
PoE Ports8x IEEE 802.3at (PoE+)8x IEEE 802.3bt (PoE++)
Switching Capacity80 Gbps240 Gbps
Touchscreen1.3″ screen with horizontal and vertical scrollingNone
ManagementOptional vendor-assisted UniFi-OS Controler or desktop softwareOptional local Web user interface,
ZON Utility,
Zyxel Nebula Cloud
Power SupplyBuilt-in power supply supporting standard desktop power cord,
Input: 100-240V~50-60Hz
Built-in power supply supporting standard desktop power cord,
Input: 100-240V~50-60Hz
Power Consumption
(per 24 hours — no PoE devices)
β‰ˆ 530 Whβ‰ˆ 490 Wh
US Price
(at launch)
$480$1000
Hardware specifications: Ubiquiti Switch Enterprise 8 PoE vs Zyxel XS1930-12

Ubiquiti Switch Enterprise 8 PoE: Detail photos

Ubiquiti Switch Enterprise 8 PoE box
Out of the box, the Ubiquiti Switch Enterprise 8 PoE has everything for it to work, including a power cord, wall muting accessories, and even a little bubble level.

Ubiquiti Switch Enterprise 8 PoE TopUbiquiti Switch Enterprise 8 PoE Underside
The top and underside of the switch have ventilation gills to dissipate the heat.

Ubiquiti Switch Enterprise 8 PoE with HandUbiquiti Switch Enterprise 8 PoE Hand
All the Ubiquiti Switch Enterprise 8 PoE’s ports are on its front. Here they are when out of the box and when the switch is working. Note the two SFP+ ports and the touchscreen.

Ubiquiti Switch Enterprise 8 PoE with BASE T adapters
The Ubiquiti Switch Enterprise 8 PoE’s two SFP+ ports can be turned into Multi-Gig ports via adapters — necessary when your existing network doesn’t have an SFP+ port. Shown in the pic are two TP-Link TL-SM5310-T (not included) used for the testing.

Ubiquiti Switch Enterprise 8 PoE Screen
The switch’s small touchscreen allows access to the switch’s various settings accessible via vertical or horizontal scrolling/swiping.

Simple plug-n-play setup, helpful touchscreen

The Ubiquiti 8 PoE switch is dead easy to set up.

All you have to do is plug it in, and that’s it, just like any unmanaged switch. Use one of its ports to connect to the existing switch or router, and the remaining ports will work as extensions of the wired network.

One thing to note: for the best and most reliable performance, you should use one of the SFP+ ports for the uplink connection. An SFP+ to RJ45 converter is necessary if your existing network doesn’t have an available SFP+ port.

After that, if you want to view the switch’s status or change some simple settings, you can use its little touchscreen, which is fun and helpful.

The screen includes four sections that show various settings and conditions of the switch accessible via vertical and horizontal swiping. It also has animations for the boot process, firmware upgrades, screensavers, etc.

You can customize many aspects of this screen itself, such as its brightness or how long it’ll stay on, or turn it off, in which case, it’ll come back on when you touch it.

No built-in web user interface, optional controller software

The Enterprise 8 PoE doesn’t have a built-in web user interface, nor does it work with Ubquiti’s UniFi mobile app. However, like any Ubiquiti’s business hardware — similar to those in the UniFi family — it is designed to be managed via an UniFi-OS hardware controller.

Alternatively, you can install the UniFi Network Application (UNA) software to turn any desktop into a controller. UNA is a Java-based application that enables a vendor-linked web interface — you have to first log in with an account — with in-depth access to Ubiquiti’s UniFi and Enterprise hardware.

Ubiquiti Switch Enterprise 8 PoE OverviewUbiquiti Switch Enterprise 8 PoE Port Settings
When working with an UniFi controller, the Ubiquiti Switch Enterprise 8 PoE has useful port and bandwidth managing features applicable to savvy or business users.

I tried that out with the switch and could use its more advanced features, including port settings and bandwidth management, as shown in the screenshots above. However, none of these extras is essential for any home.

And there’s no point in installing the UNA software just to use the switch. That only makes sense when you have multiple Ubiquiti UniFi or Enterprise hardware units. But in that case, it’s best also to use a real hardware controller, like the UDR or a higher-end UniFi router.

Generally, for home use, it’s best to treat the Enterprise 8 PoE as a standalone unmanaged Multi-Gig PoE+ switch. There’s no point in complicating things unnecessarily.

Ubiquiti Switch Enterprise 8 PoE: Reliable with excellent Multi-Gig performance

I used the Ubiquiti Switch Enterprise 8 PoE for over a week and was generally happy with the experience.

The switch delivered excellent performance via its 2.5Gbps ports which also worked well as PoE power senders. I tried them with multiple PoE devices simultaneously, including a BC500 cam, the U6 Enterprise, and a few other PoE+ Wi-Fi access points, and they all worked flawlessly.

The Enterprise 8 PoE is not a PoE++ switch, so if you have PoE++ devices requiring higher power draws, you’ll need a different switch, like the Zyxel XS1930-12HP. Or you can get a separate injector.

Ubiquiti Switch Enterprise 8 PoE Performance
Ubiquiti Switch Enterprise 8 PoE’s real-world sustained throughputs. Its SFP+ ports were tested with Base-T 10Gbps adapters.

Regarding throughput speeds, it was a bit complicated for me to test the Enterprise 8 PoE.

On the one hand, its 2.5Gbps ports are straightforward. On the other, I don’t have enough SFP+ devices to use the two ports simultaneously.

In the end, I had to use two TP-Link TL-SM5310-T adapters for the testing, and it was impossible to know if they caused them to perform slower than a true 10Gbps connection, as shown on the charts. Considering the uplink role, though, the SFP+ ports’ sustained rate, in my case, was still more than fast enough.

Overall, the Enterprise 8 PoE proved to be a fast 2.5Gbps Mulit-Gig switch. Its performance was on par, if not better, than others of similar specs I’ve tried.

Runs hot and requires long boot times

Like the case of the U6 Enterprise, without an internal fan, the Ubiquiti Switch Enterprise 8 PoE ran quite warm in my testing. It wasn’t hot enough to cause concern but warmer than other switches. So, it’s best to place it somewhere airy or cool.

Another thing to note is that the switch takes a long time to boot, varying from three to even five minutes. That’s not a huge deal unless you’re the impatient type. But all other switches I’ve tested generally need less than a minute to be ready.

Ubiquiti Switch Enterprise 8 PoE's Rating

8 out of 10
Ubiquiti Switch Enterprise 8 PoE box conent
Performance
8 out of 10
Features
8 out of 10
Design and Setup
8 out of 10
Value
8 out of 10

Pros

Eight Multi-Gig PoE+ ports, two SFP+ ports

Reliable and fast performance; plug-n-play by default with the option to deliver more when coupled with Ubiquiti's UniFi or Enterprise controller

Thoughtful, silent, fanless design; helpful touchscreen

Cons

No built-in local web user interface

Lowest Multi-Gig port grades; no 10Gbps Base-T Uplink port; no PoE++

Runs hot; long boot time

Conclusion

Despite the name, you can safely think of the Enterprise 8 PoE as an unmanaged Multi-Gig switch. At least, that’s how it’ll work right out of the box.

And that ease of use plus the fast and reliable performance — both as a Multi-Gig switch and a PoE+ sender — make the Enterprise 8 PoE worth the sub-$500 cost. Considering the thoughtful design and the helpful touchscreen, I’ll be generous and even call it a good deal.

Those running a full Ubiquiti-powered UniFi or Enterprise network will get the bonus of further customizing its ports and managing its bandwidth, all in the same place with their existing controller and hardware. But they already know that.

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